inside the acorn
all the knowledge of
Blood splattered jeans ripped at the seams and the sand blows
After the explosions between more to come still the sand blows
And through the trees where the blossoms will come some day
He dreams of pleasant things and lips waiting but the sand blows
Not even the hardest words heard are like rockets or like missiles
Bullets they come and they go and some stay and the sand blows
Your name has been whispered high up across the mountains
And deep in the hearts of brave lonely men while the sand blows
Yet it is I a mere forestbather who reads paths through tall trees
Left to record stories of love never consumed for the sand blows
her rose, her beautiful treasure
her fragrance luring, beguiling
tantalizing, yet her taste, veiled
The last post in February on behalf of the Carpe Diem Haiku Kai website, (link found below). and the theme is Onsen, the Japanese communal baths, carried out nude of course.
A country where people strip off to bathe or sit in steam rooms together always has a favourable edge to me. The naturist beaches of Croatia give the same flavour, one I enjoyed a few decades ago, meeting traveling people from Greece, Germany, Argentina, Hungary and Korea. There is something fun about removing clothes as a group with total strangers, though all with the common goal of travelling and experiencing.
And so I thought I would make the final post of February for CDHK one with a splash, so to speak, even if not quite a topical one...
in the company
of those just met on the road
I bare my soul
let the children play
as long as possible
on the mountain
before they get sucked in
to slave down in the city
noble Masai warrior
who walks from sunrise
across the savannah
all the way to a setting sun
miles and dreams
One of the abberations of Christianity is a main tennent of the faith: good vs evil. There is a fatal flaw in this incredibly simplistic view of things. First of all, it is totally at odds with the workings of nature, and secondly it promotes absolutism.
But the main issue with this cause and effect dichtonomy is not the weakness of it's philosophy, but it's results: without a doubt, the concept of good vs evil leads to war. To be exact it leads to many wars and has done so.
Jacques Chirac, president of France during the absurd 'freedom fries' era of he US- instigated and led invasion of Iraq often referred to a meeting with George W Bush and sidekick Dick Cheney, where two tried to press on him the apparent Biblical justifications for going to war against the 'Beast,' Sadam Hussain. He was on the plane to Paris as quick as he could be.
The concept of good and evil comes from the Middle East, and was first outlined by Zoroastriansm, up to a thousand years before Christianity.
Thankfully this dull doctrine is absent from haiku ethos, despite what are said to be connections between haiku and Buddhism, for Buddhism is represented also in Māra, a dark force.
In fact haiku's philosophical roots are more likely traceable to Shintoism and Confucism, and perhaps to the Estonian Maausk religion, rather than any others. This absence of "lecturing" in haiku is one of the things that give it special appeal.
fresh morning snow
her buds full and flushed
ah the devil in me!
the axe hits
a scent of pine
in the winter woods
I met an American girl from Seattle who had a tattoo of Buson above her left breast, which she showed me in a bar selling craft beer in Pècs, Hungary.
Buson is one of what haiku poet Chèvrefeuille calls 'the big five' of classic haiku poetry, and indeed Buson strove to follow Bashô's footsteps in haiku, and literally, by tracing his journey in his 'Narrow Road to the Interior.'
The traveling, and in fact lengthy walking, is one of the endearing aspects of the haiku poets of the Edo period, and in my fervent opinion a necessary stage in the implementation of their craft. There is no doubt in my mind that without their traveling soul the classic haiku artists could never have launched haiku as they did.
Each may have had his or her own style, but both theme and topic of many of their haiku reflected their experience on the road or gave them a broader vision than a more sedentary lifestyle could afford. Buson's haiku were often lonely, sometimes mystical, or nostalgic. He used distance and space with ease and had a particular viewpoint that was sometimes a feature of his skill as a painter.
His haiku above, which I took the liberty of translating myself by touching up or tweeking an automatic translation, shows haiku at its finest, and is worth study in view of emulation. The haiku is somewhat similar in concept to Jane Reichhold's translation of the famous Bashô 'old pond' haiku:
the frog leaps through
the sound of water
Admittedly this is only one version of the translated haiku, but the resonance can, I feel, be seen in Buson's 'axe' haiku.
Which brings me to my effort to walk the same path, though in a tanka, which strikes me as easier than a carefully-crafted haiku, and much less sincere, as tanka, being normally about love, need a much smaller dose of sincerity within their lines.
has never sent a coherent message
through the forest
ah if I had the patience
of the tall pine tree
beyond my reach
the melting icicle
in the sunlight
forcing me to consider
each different moment
in the glimpses of spring
a well-worn winter
Ah, even pirates end up walking on well-worn paths, still dreaming of conquests undertaken on the seven seas, of bosoms nestled in far away taverns and pints of cider washed down with pints of cider bought with treasure chests of plundered trinkets.
Yes even in the silent painted innocence of the forest I allow myself the luxury of reminiscence of wilder days when the sword replaced the walking staff, where falling in love was painless (though not in memory).
"Stay the course, always stay the course." True words for the buccaneer. Keep to the bearing. Always. At sea you do not simply 'stop,' or give up. And of course the bounty is always just within one's grasp, nearly.
I read two haiku today. Two pearls that I consider the best haiku I have ever read, both by Chiyo-ni, a nun and poet, and medical doctor if I remember correctly.
Usually, I am fond of reviewing and analysing. These haiku need neither: they stand alone on their merits. Beautifully.
lies within the listener-
a cuckoo's call
the truth is
the flower hates people
I do not know if I even dare attempt a tanka in her honour. Of course that is just an introduction to the homage below:
in-between the sound of the cucko's call
and a lone flower
I found a path that led me
because I let myself be led
love is a lion
lying strong in the savannah sun
and love is sharing love
at the oasis
the water ripples towards me
cherry blossom toes
I learnt, today, an insight from haiku master Chèvrefeuille:
that the signs of the artist must not be seen in the haiku, and such 'blemishes' must not be seen on the bonsai either, no individually styled arrangements, but more a seeking of a 'natural' look, and yet containing more than a resemblance to the stylistic predomimently Japanese paintings.
In the following haiku I will try to follow this course, of providing an instant, scene or feeling, in haiku form, without injecting any of my emotion, message or ideas. Thus the meaning you may get or the picture is entirely your own as the reader. To me this places great value on the one consuming the haiku. This reasoning is absent from western thought.
to the naked eye
all that is invisible
pathways among trees
others have passed this way before
where are their haiku?
in the forest landscape
all that has made
the forest landscape
what is in the mind
and what is in the wind
-one causes the other
winter rocks and stones-
echoes of chirping birds
a trumpet playing
in the lonely night
sounds like the ink
I paint your curves with
while the rain just pours
composed of dreams and black ink
and alpine breezes
I watch you
with your fingertips
pressing the brush,
your elegant strokes
When you paint, Yasuko, I see how thoughts come alive, I watch what you have to say, and the beautiful way you say it, with your paintbrush.
Your mountain painting reminds me of everything I love about you, and the soft kisses I planted on your ink-stained fingers.